Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Salon: January 24, 2016

While the East Coast is recovering from a major snow storm... I am recovering from a major mishap. Many of you are already familiar with this new chapter of my life, so I won't bore you with a rehash of the details.

For those of you who might be curious, you can read a brief summary of the past week here: Are we having fun yet?

One of the silver linings from the accident, however, is that I have nothing but time. The duties of life have dramatically downsized to a morning toiletry routine and daily arm/leg exercises. That's it.

In an effort not to waste this blessing, I am consciously reading more fiction. This item has been on my "to do" list for months, and I am now going to follow through on my intentions. I am grateful for my Kindle which allows me to read effortlessly any tomb of my choosing.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

I must confess... I chose this book by its cover (*hides her face in shame).

I was completely enthralled with the initial premise: use lost forgotten photographs to develop a fictional story. I still love the idea as a writing prompt for future projects.

The beginning of the story started well for me. I liked the relationship between the misfit boy, Jacob, and his cantankerous grandfather.

I was intrigued by the grandfather's mystery and how Jacob might move past his grief.

I liked the idea of time loops - reliving the same day over and over again. And many of the "peculiar" children caught my attention.

However, somewhere after the 50% mark, I began to lose interest. The fairy tale element of the story became more of a science fiction thriller (not my favorite genre) and the climax took a very dark turn.

In the end... I'm glad I finished the book, but I have no desire to read the remaining books in the series. I do, however, have a desire to go to the local flea market and rummage through stacks of old photographs.

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. A good friend of mine (and voracious reader) suggested we read this book together - since I have lots of time and she had just started it. I am currently about one-third of the way through the book.

I adore Kristen Hannah's writing style. She develops characters in such a way that I forget I am reading a novel and instead feel I am intimately acquainted with each of them.

Her word choice is impeccable. She is literary without being academic.

My only issue with this book is the time period. It is difficult for me to read about the Nazis and World War II. I like to read in order to escape the problems of today - not to come face-to-face with evil itself. And yet... I know it is important to remember history, lest we soon repeat it.

I will finish the book because I am fully invested in the lives of the two sisters: Vianne and Isabelle. That is the sign of a great author! But I will probably quickly follow up this book with another Kristen Hannah novel that is not quite so heart-stopping.

Another silver lining in this ordeal is that my right side - my dominant side - is completely intact. I can freely write in journals - and have done so since I returned home a week ago.

On Friday, however, I got the ok to type with two hands. As long as I do not move my shoulder, I am free to use my hands in any way. Talk about liberation!!

I am going to return to First Impressionism and begin to flesh out my characters. To that end, I found a series of MG mysteries that are similar enough to my concept to use as "textbook" examples, and yet different enough that I am encouraged to continue with this project.

Carole Marsh has written two series of books for this younger set - both involving travel to exotic locales. The first mystery series is entitled Around the World in 80 Mysteries (clever, huh?) and the second series is called Real Kids - Real Places. I selected one from each series and chose the two places that I admire most: Paris and New York City.

In addition, I recently discovered a wonderful site: Writer's Digest Video Tutorials. For a modest monthly fee, I can watch unlimited videos (there are more than 200 in the library so far). For a ravenous academic such as myself, this is a goldmine.

I hope to watch a few videos each week and then use the information I learn to help further advance my own novel-in-progress.

Well, I need to do a bit of rethinking here.

I hope to return to the Journaling series on Revising Life after 50 and the French Friday series here on My Cozy Book Nook. I'm afraid Totoro Family Recipes may have to take a brief hiatus. It will be several weeks before I can cook again - and I have few if any photos to post of recipes I want to share.

Oh well... hopefully I can resume culinary duties by summer with renewed vim and vigor towards meal planning, preparation, and enjoyment.

Here's to a better week ahead :)


  1. While I'm glad you have more time than you have had before, I'm sorry it had to come to you this way.

  2. Well, you started the year in a special way... but I'm glad that you see the positive side.
    I love Kristin Hannah - not all of her books, but many. My favorite is The Winter Garden, which is pretty gloomy in between as well.
    I hope you heal fast and well.

  3. I've been meaning to read the Nightingale -- I know I'd love it. As for Mrs. Peregrine, I've been curious but not curious enough to actually read. Sounds like a good one to check out from the library.


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